San Francisco Giants Employ Social Media to Connect Sponsors with Fans

Virgin America Day at AT&T Park
August 4th 2011 marked San Francisco-based Virgin America's fourth year anniversary, and they turned to the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants to assist with their celebration. The Giants designated August 6th as the "Virgin America Day at AT&T Park," and Virgin partnered with the Giants to offer exclusive prizes and contests. Virgin provided game attendees with limited two-for-one flight vouchers and created an in-game Twitter scavenger hunt, which would provide attendees with an opportunity to win Giants/Virgin merchandise and enter for a chance to win a free Virgin flight. While these innovative contests appear to coincide with the distinct Virgin America brand, one cannot ignore the Giants expanding, unique social media presence. Through social media, the Giants have carved out a distinct brand among MLB teams and have become increasingly attractive to potential sponsors for their efforts.

Larry Baer, Giants President, flying 
Virgin America

The San Francisco Giants are one of the few, if not only, MLB teams who "get" social media. Bryan Srabian, Giants' Director of Social Media, explained that social media has brought Giants fans from across the country together, but more importantly it has brought fans closer to the game. Srabian continues saying that it provided an outlet for fans to connect with the Giants. No longer were the Giants just telling fans information, but fans could engage and talk directly back to the Giants through social media. By increasing fan engagement, the Giants have an attentive audience that is attractive to potential sponsors.

The recent Twitter scavenger hunt hosted during the "Virgin America Day at AT&T Park" provided Virgin with the opportunity to collect game attendees information. With the Giants extensive use of social media outlets, such as Twitter, their game attendees are more likely to currently be using Twitter and would participate in the contest. In order to compete in the competition, fans had to follow Virgin America's Twitter which would increase their followers and provide Virgin ability to collect fan information. Most people are not willing to give out their personal information, but Twitter allows companies to gather this valuable data without appearing as intrusive. The contest gave Virgin a unique chance to further understand their audience, and it is an opportunity that few MLB teams understand but the Giants "get it."

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